Campus Life

Healing achy, breaky hearts

How to turn a Hallmark holiday into something worthwhile

I remember the days when Valentine’s Day consisted of writing everybody in my third grade class a “Spiderman Valentine” that said things along the lines of, “you’ve got my spidey senses tingling” and “thanks for sharing your PB&J sandwich.” The more special friends got an extra Hershey’s Kiss, while the people I couldn’t stand got Laffy Taffy. There was no heartbreak involved — only trading of candies if you didn’t like the flavor or type you received from someone. If only Valentine’s Day were so simple now.

I haven’t had a reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the chocolates, roses, and romantic restaurant, and I’m not really looking forward to it. Valentine’s Day, though wonderful in concept, has been exaggerated to become a holiday of extravagant gestures that could be nothing but a temporary show. Additionally, many studies have shown that in the month preceding Valentine’s Day, many people break up with their current partners to avoid spending Valentine’s Day with someone they may not harbor romantic feelings for anymore. The exes then spend weeks or even months thereafter brooding over the love they lost. Thus, while Valentine’s Day is ideally a celebration of love, it can also be a sore holiday for those of us who are single and not happy about it.

Dealing with break-ups is certainly not easy. Feelings of loneliness combined with longing for what was can contribute to an ice cream eating spree or listening to Cee Lo Green’s “F*** You” on repeat. And though these can be effective ways of getting over someone in the short-term, they don’t have a long-term stamp of warranty. Soon, the ice cream will translate to a few more pounds that will eventually have to be shed, and “F*** You” will lose its charm after the first 500 replays.

Generally being the friend who comforts, I have seen my fair share of break-ups. Through it all, I’ve found that there are some things that work to soothe the “achy breaky heart.” I’ve also found that there are a few things that people do to try to make themselves feel better that just doesn’t work in finding that happy mental medium. So, in honor of the day after Valentine’ Day, here’s my short list of dos and don’ts for getting rid of feelings of loneliness:

Do …

• Reach out to a friend: If you’re feeling alone, don’t sit and be alone! Call a friend and make plans with him or her. Go to a movie, or play a game, or sit and express your feelings to him or her. Grab some hot chocolate and just start talking about what you’re going through. Odds are that your friend has been through a similar situation and can help you figure out a plan of action.

• Write down your feelings and then shred: If talking to a friend about your feelings might make you nervous, write down your feelings on a piece of paper. Get all your negativity out — curse, vent, and insult. And at the end of it, shred the paper. This metaphorical destruction of your pessimism will make you feel as though you have put an end to all the feelings that have been getting you down.

• Go to mixers or places where you can meet people: If you’re on the prowl for someone to talk to, what better way to do so than to go to an event where you can meet new people? Make yourself presentable, spritz on a little bit of that new perfume, floss and brush your teeth, and go make some new friends. Who knows — you may end up finding your soulmate! Some places at MIT that you can go to: LSC-sponsored movies, SaveTFP events, tunnel exploring, or ice skating at Johnson.

Don’t …

• Take to Facebook or Twitter to announce your frustration; public defamation never did anyone good. Plus, announcing your feelings to the world can incite a flood of pity that will end up making you feeling more pathetic than vindicated.

• Sit in the reading room with your textbooks all the time; getting out of a relationship certainly does free up a substantial amount of time for you to focus on academics. However, taking academics to an extreme can limit your social interaction and lead to more unhappiness. Instead, try to study with friends in the study rooms of Dewey Library or Hayden Library, which will give you an opportunity to get to know people in your classes better — without the smelly background of the reading room.

• Anonymously post to a site like isawyoumit; anonymous postings won’t reach the person they’re meant to. And while this is arguably the sole reason for posting to a site like isawyoumit, posts to these sites illicit generally crude comments that may end up making you feel worse, rather than better. Furthermore, public, anonymous posts don’t allow you to confront your feelings to their core because you’re still conscious of the fact that people might be reading your thoughts.

• Pig out on junk food; the whole point is that you’re now available! You’re single and ready to mingle. Finding a friend in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s doesn’t allow you to go out and show how truly amazing you are. Finding solace in junk food will eventually lower your self-esteem and send you to the gym to engage in painful rounds of curl-ups and sprints.

Even though Valentine’s Day happened yesterday, go out and find that special someone. Shed that suit of gloom for one of sparkly confidence. Who knows — maybe next Valentine’s Day you’ll be munching on some delicious (and healthy) dark chocolate with that perfect guy or girl you’ve been looking for.